Warranty Void Stickers Get Slapped by FTC

By Published April 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm
  •  

This far along the line, it should be no secret that we at GamersNexus find the “Warranty Void if Removed” stickers that adorn so many devices—consoles, cellphones, laptops, etc.—ethically abhorrent. They are a thinly veiled, bullshit attack on consumers’ right to repair. These stickers are also a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act—a point we brought up in an article we wrote a while back, as well as details on the then-current right to repair climate. It would seem as though the pecuniary and questionable warranty practices of at least six companies have caught up with them, as the FTC has officially put six major companies on notice.

In the press release, the FTC expresses “concerns” about the six companies’ policies that constrict repairs to specific service providers—e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Sony, et al. While the FTC wouldn’t disclose the identity of the companies in question, the press release did mention that these companies sell and market “automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems in the United States.”

We don’t have to namedrop here, but we can probably all guess who these companies are. The FTC went on to provide examples of illegal language, presumably in place by the companies put on notice, although each company’s language and fine print probably reads a bit different:

  • The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your . . . manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
  • This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
  • This warranty does not apply if this product . . . has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.

Additionally, Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, had this to say:

“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services”

Companies who received notice are being asked to review their promotional materials and warranty terms in respect to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and revise them to comply with the law; the unnamed companies will have 30 days for correction and compliance.

This is undoubtedly a win for right to repair advocates and consumers alike, albeit a small one. It is our hope that the FTC will follow through and continue to set such precedents.

- Eric Hamilton

We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.

Advertisement:

  VigLink badge